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I Went to Renaissance Faire And It Changed My Life

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

I’m a nerd. And not only in the cute cottagecore “books are better than people” way (although that does take up a decent amount of my nerdom). But, for this piece specifically, I’m going to be talking about the… less glamorous side of my nerdom. The side that causes me to give 1,500 hours of my life away to Dungeons and Dragons podcasts, have a long-running World of Warcraft account, and spend hundreds of dollars on prop weapons.

It’s Renaissance Faire, baby.

When most people move to Los Angeles, they’re excited for a life of glamor. Hollywood, beaches, and sunny So-Cal — those are the things they look forward to. And while I love the constant sun (I get cold easily), the thing that I was the most excited for was Ren Faire.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the magic of Ren Faire, let me explain. Ren Faire is the place to go to let your inner fantasy character come to life. Surrounded by knights, princesses, and all sorts of medieval little lads, Ren Faire is where you go to be, well, a complete nerd.

My holy grail.

Now, there’s some Ren Faires all over the US and beyond, and one of my goals is to make it to as many as I possibly can. But for my first, it made sense to start with the first Ren Faire in the US: The Renaissance Pleasure Faire of Southern California.

This Renaissance Faire was originally made in 1963 in order to educate school children on Renaissance customs. Since then, it’s become a national spectacle, spreading all over the US.

I’ve been wanting to go to a Ren Faire since I first heard of them, and this one surpassed my every expectation. There were amazing shows, including those by a contortionist and a strongwoman. I got to watch a jousting competition (which is now my favorite sport), and I spent far too much money on all of the nerd trinkets that I could find.

More than the outfits or the crippling debt, though, the most amazing part of Ren Faire was being surrounded by fellow nerds. Not only did I go with the loveliest group of people, but I was able to see thousands of people who are just as nerdy as I am. From dressing up in armor to singing a group song about the adventures of Matthew Mercer, the sense of community I felt was insane.

So, this is my message to all of you nerdy folks — try a Ren Faire. There’s nothing quite like being surrounded by thousands of other nerds. The chance to wear armor and an excuse to buy yet another sword, well, that’s an added bonus.

Jessica is a first year English major at UCLA. She loves both reading and writing, having even published her debut novel "The World Above the Waves" in 2022. When she isn't delving into literature, you can find her playing d&d, listening to music, or wherever either her twin sister or girlfriend are. She's so excited to be a part of the Her Campus team.